I’ve read Revelation, but if I’m honest, I’ve never really studied it much. We dabbled in it in seminary, but it was really high level stuff. If I spent a little time on it, I could probably remember the key players and symbols that help inform how we read John’s Revelation not with the terrible theology of the Left Behind series ruining it for us.
I’ve been reminded of my lack of deep knowledge on Revelation of late because in Year C, we read portions of the book during Eastertide. It’s way easier to preach John or Acts, so nobody in my congregation has heard anything about John’s great vision, but as I read the lesson appointed for Easter 6C, I couldn’t help be smile at the image of the new Jerusalem that John sees.
Stuck in the midst of this grand vision of a world in which there is no longer night, which can’t be heaven, in my opinion, is this description of the Tree of Life.
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”
This image of the Tree of Life producing its own fruit of the month club has me thinking about the abundance of the Kingdom of God. From my white, middle class, American perspective, I imagine the fruit to be grapes one month, apples another, and strawberries the month after that, but the reality is there is probably lychee, mangos, monk fruit, and maybe even durian.
The fruit that God offers to those who seek after the restoration of the world is going to look a lot like the fruit that challenges our tastes, those things that we give priority to in order to perpetuate our own comfort and sense of normalcy, and invites us to experience what brings joy to those around us, those we don’t know, those whose experiences have been marginalized. It’ll be ever changing, always challenging, and, it is important to remember, always life giving.